Digital Detox? Most of us check our phones every 12 minutes of our waking lives…
43% of us feel we spend too much time online…
You may need Digital Detox if:
- You feel a sense of urgency or guilt unless you check your phone 5 times every hour…that’s once every 12 minutes.
- You can’t relax after you hear the ‘ding’ of a message alert until you check the message.
- You answer every phone call (important or not) even when it’s during a meal, work time, play time, or a conversation.
- You check your emails first thing in the morning only to find you’ve wasted hours before actually starting your work day.
- You jump on social media more than 30 minutes a day.
- You feel like electronic devices interrupt conversations with friends and family too often.
- You have nothing to talk about with friends when you see them in person because they already know everything about you by what they see online.
- You are logged into the internet more that you are logged off.
- You look at your phone within 5 minutes of waking up.
- You look at your phone within 5 minutes of going to bed.
- You are uncomfortable with silence.
- You eat with your phone on the table or within arms reach so you don’t miss anything.
- You sleep with a phone or other electronic device in your bedroom, often within arm’s reach.
- You have a television in your bedroom.
- You feel envy, jealousy, anger, sadness or hate after scrolling through social media because you think everyone else has a better life than you do.
- You have lost the art of conversation and only speak in emojis and by stringing together the first letter of every word in a sentence (rofl).
- Your friends and family no longer know what your face looks like because they only see the top of your head as you hunch over the screen in your lap. When they want to see your face, they must go online to view the latest selfie.
- You can’t relax without your electronic device of choice.
These are what experts have identified as the habits and feelings people with technology overwhelm experience.
The First Time….
How often do you miss what’s around you because you are looking down…
I remember the first time I had to leave home for an unplugged family vacation without the one thing I used every waking moment of my life. The thought of going without it was pure hell and I panicked.
I did more than panic. I threw a fit. A throw-yourself-on-the-ground, hands flailing, fists flying, feet kicking, tears flowing kind of moment.
And, it worked.
As we pulled away from the curb in our family sedan for several weeks of driving and camping, there I sat, proudly, with my very large very pink Barbie van perched on my little legs. I could barely peak over the top to see anything, but I didn’t care.
I was triumphant.
I convinced my parents to allow me to bring the toy I couldn’t live without. They had just one condition. During the entire vacation, I was solely responsible for the toy and it had to remain on my lap the entire time when driving. I couldn’t set it on the seat or in the already packed-to-the brim trunk.
No problem. I was certain my three siblings sharing the back seat would “help” when I got tired and wanted to take a nap.
Oh, did I mention I have two older brothers? Yeah…that “helping” thing didn’t work out too well.
Shock of all shock. Not only did I NOT play with my toy during the vacation, I suddenly lost interest in ever bringing it with me anywhere again.
I discovered fishing, hiking, s’mores, bacon over an open fire, silly songs about peanut butter and jelly, and stars like I had never seen before back in our cozy suburban home.
I was hooked…and unplugged (way before being plugged was even a thing).
For me, I guess the Barbie detox preceded the digital detox.
The pain of leaving something behind was real, y’all!
So, I understand the urge to keep our screens close and stay connected with the world 24/7 and the mild or not-so-mild sense of panic at the thought of our toys being taken away or wandering out of cell range.
I understand. However, I also realize that learning how to relax and be happy without the digital toys is just like the commercial says: priceless.
Is It Time for a Digital Detox?
Technology was meant to give us freedom and make life easier…
Technology was meant to give us freedom and make life easier, remember? In many ways, it does. Afterall, we are witnessing the emergence of the digital nomad who can work where, when, and with whom, they choose.
With all this freedom, why are so many people burdened with a feeling they are too busy doing the things they ‘should’ do rather than things they ‘could’ do?
Where did we lose our freedom to choose?
Or, perhaps more accurately, why have we relinquished our freedom to choose?
Step back and think about something. Just a few hundred years ago most people lived a “digital nomad” lifestyle without the digital part. People lived, worked, and played outside of cities and a cubicle was probably where manure or root vegetables were stored.
Our ancestors were small business owners, shop keepers, farmers, inventors, peddlers, and tradesmen. They produced products or services created from their homes (working anywhere). Often, their “employees” were family members.
Was life hard? Sure, sometimes.
But in many ways, it was simple. People knew what they had to do and got busy with the doing. They stopped only when the task was done, not when the clock told them it was time to quit.
They worked with purpose. They had to. Survival depended on it.
When our ancestors worked the farm, they didn’t bring the cow to the kitchen when the day was done. So why do so many of us have trouble separating ourselves from our work, our toys, or our entertainment?
Is it time to disconnect in order to reconnect?
The Modern Challenge for Happiness
It takes courage and mental space to figure out the big Why’s of life. …
Did you know by some estimates, we check our phones every 12 minutes! How often do you find yourself mindlessly double-tapping on photos of other people living their best life instead of having your own “real” life experiences?
The challenge we face today is knowing when to stop working, stop scrolling, stop doing all of life’s shoulds, and put away our digital toys in order to start looking up and creating the real opportunities of life. Our life.
Today, looking down is the norm as we swipe, tap, and type with thumbs faster than the speed of light. When we look up, it’s more likely for a selfie than for the opportunity to explore our surroundings.
So, the question is this: Are we looking down because we are addicted to our phones? Or are we looking down because we are not focused on what we really want from this life and are just filling time?
David Morgan, of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, believes that for many of us this mind-numbing retreat to our screens is both a reason for and a consequence of the fact we no longer know how to relax and enjoy ourselves.
“People have got so used to looking for distraction that they actually cannot stand an evening with themselves. It is a way of not seeing oneself, because to have insight into oneself requires mental space, and all these distraction techniques are used as a way of avoiding getting close to the self.”
This may go back to exploring the answer to Life’s big question: Why am I here?
It takes courage and mental space to figure out the big Why’s of life. It’s a journey most people must take on their own, even while being surrounded by thousands of people. It’s your hero’s journey. It can be lonely. It can be scary. And, it is the greatest adventure of your life.
“People feel more lonely, more stressed, and anxious than ever,” says Folk Rebellion founder Jess Davis. “The technology that was meant to connect us and simplify our lives, when overused, in fact, causes the opposite reaction.”
The key word here is “overused.”
Technology, just like any substance, exercise, food, drink, vitamin, or supplement, used “as directed” can be helpful and good; getting too much or too little creates an imbalance.
You’ll know you’re out of balance when you feel the urge to have a throw-yourself-on-the-ground, hands flailing, fists flying, feet kicking, tears flowing tantrum when you must put down your phone or you cannot find a wifi hotspot.
The first step is admitting you have a problem!
But don’t worry, the solution is easier than you think…and a lot of fun.
Step away from the computer. Breathe. Create your own digital detox retreat and learn how to relax and be happy…without a digital connection.
Places to Go for Digital Detox
You don’t have to wait for a crisis to detox…
You don’t have to wait for a crisis to detox. In fact, you can and should take time every day to detox and focus. This helps you balance the use of technology so it remains a tool you leverage instead of a master you serve.
Take a walk. Breathe deeply. Practice yoga. Run…on purpose. Find a beautiful spot to sit and just be still.
The only rule is: no distracting technology to pull you away from you.
Did you know that all top performers and the most successful people in life actually schedule time every week to think about the one thing they must do to accomplish their goals. And then, every day, they schedule a block of time in order to work on that activity?
Whether it’s learning a new language, creating your ideal marriage, or building a business for a life of financial freedom, you must know what to do and then make time to do it.
I would suggest our phones or technology in general are not the problem as much as it is our minds. When we don’t really know what we want our should be doing to live the life we desire, then the default of playing some mindless candy game, jumping to other people’s requests, or scrolling through other people’s online lives is a simple fallback.
It takes zero brain power and zero effort.
So how do you get to the place of digital nirvana?
Start by unplugging.
Look at your calendar and set a time right now to spend two or three days in nature where you don’t have easy access to the internet.
Next, set the intention to use the time to think and plan what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. From there, work backwards to decide what you will have to do in the next 5 years, 3 years, and this year to make it happen.
Finally, chunk it down further so you know what you will accomplish each month this year, each week and then each day.
There are plenty of great books already written about goal setting so I’m not going use this time to re-hash what has already been said.
I bring this up only to point out that when you are clear about the direction you are going and then focus on the activities needed to get there, you will start to recognize that checking your phone, email, text messages, and social media feeds more than necessary and getting involved in idle conversations and gossip is a distraction.
The more powerful your goal, the less desire you have to hand your mind and time over to these distractions.
A retreat from your digital life is a powerful way to set your intentions for living. They key is to use the time to think about what you want and then resolve to focus on the right activities each day to get there.
Remember to reinforce your new habit by setting aside an hour each week (I use Sunday) to check up on your progress. This keeps you focused on the results of your actions to be sure you are still heading in the right direction. Make adjustments as needed and be sure you have set up time in the coming week to stay on track and on purpose.
When you are living each day complete, you will find you have little need to check into the online world because, as observed by Dr. Seuss, you won’t want to fall asleep because your real life is so incredible.
Where to Go for a Digital Detox Retreat…
Digital detox can happen at home or close to home. A beach, park, hiking trail, or campground are all easy places to unwind.
Ready for something else? Here are some options:
Mandarin Oriental Digital Wellness:
Mandarin Oriental launched a Digital Wellness initiative at all of its spas worldwide last year. The programme is designed to help guests find new ways to manage their relationship with technology and the stress that can come with a constantly connected digital lifestyle…
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Surf with Amigas
Women’s Surf Campin Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama. Whether you are ready to catch your very first wave, become more confident in the water, transition to riding a shortboard, cross-step on a longboard, or get barreled, our surf coaching program and team of experienced lady instructors will help you achieve your goals.
Borgo Egnazia Healing in Puglia, Italy
Borgo Egnazia is like a breathing tale of Puglia, spoken by the ancient culture of the land and by the sheer beauty of its nonpareil architecture. It happens every hour of the year: you come and live your time here, and nature is powerful, peace is intense, harmony is full. It’s a place where you meet yourself. It’s Borgo Egnazia: it’s nowhere else.
Whether you are looking to deepen your meditation practice, make new friends or travel with purpose, DEN Retreats works with today’s most influential meditation and wellness teachers to create an inspiring trip that will allow you to quiet your mind, open your heart and delve in to your inner world.
Wellness in the City of Joy – Valencia, Spain
In addition to offering private, self contained vacation rental units for groups ( apart from the individual ‘full-service’ Valencia Bed and Breakfast-style rooms), we also invite you to enjoy a wide range of other services, including: expert relaxing massages by experienced therapists in our sunny ‘in-house massage room’, and also: an ‘early bird meditation room’ for those who would like a quiet moment of contemplation / meditation before starting to explore vibrant Valencia.
Unplug with Mountain Trek
Mountain Trek is no ordinary wellness retreat. For the past 17 years our bootcamp-style program and weight loss retreat, which features daily Nordic Fitness Trekking, has helped guests boost their vitality, lose weight, reduce their stress, and feel fit and alive again.
Resources for Digital Detox and how to relax and be happy: